Thick as thieves. Lisa Marie Presley had a close relationship with her mother, Priscilla Presley, before her death in January 2023 — but the twosome faced their fair share of ups and downs.
“My mom was really, really strict with me,” Lisa Marie said during a 2013 appearance on The Talk. “Constrictive. I realized that is not going to work very well because it made us not get close for a very long time. We are now very close, but when I was younger, it was, like, difficult to have a relationship with somebody that’s got you … around the neck all the time.”
Priscilla and Lisa Marie’s father, Elvis Presley, tied the knot in May 1967 and welcomed their daughter less than a year later. After the twosome called it quits in 1973, they took turns sharing custody of their only child.
While Lisa Marie often called her father, who died in 1977 at the age of 42, “very adoring” and “sweet,” she explained that her mother was “level-headed” and would often have “to undo whatever was done if I went to Graceland and spent two weeks being a tyrant.”
After the Tennessee native began abusing drugs at the age of 13 following her father’s death, Priscilla checked Lisa Marie into The Castle, a Scientology center in Hollywood. Although the two continued to butt heads throughout the “Now What” singer’s teens and early ’20s, their dynamic took a turn when Lisa Marie filed for divorce from fourth husband Michael Lockwood in 2016.
Following their split, the pair, who tied the knot in 2006, entered a messy custody battle after a report surfaced that the exes’ twin daughters, Finley and Harper, were in protective care after “disturbing” photos of children were allegedly found on the guitarist’s computer.
Lisa Marie, for her part, claimed in court documents obtained in February 2017 that she was “shocked and horrified and sick to my stomach” when she discovered the images. Lockwood’s lawyer denied the allegations in a statement to Us Weekly at the time, calling her claims “highly sensational, inaccurate and unproven.”
The Beverly Hills Police Department confirmed later that month that Lockwood was under investigation for alleged child abuse. Priscilla, meanwhile, revealed via Facebook that same month that the children were in her care “until all this is sorted out.” (Lockwood was later cleared of all potential charges.)
One month later, the Graceland cofounder gave Us an exclusive update on having the two little ones under her roof.
“It’s great, it’s absolutely great [having them at home with me]. I love it, I love it,” she gushed. “Having twins is quite an experience, I have to say. Both of them are very different. Wonderful kids, wonderful children.”
When Lisa Marie’s son, Benjamin, whom she shared with ex-husband Danny Keough, died by suicide in July 2020, Priscilla was again there to care for her daughter and family. (In addition to Benjamin, the “Idiot singer” and Keough, who were married from 1988 to 1994, shared daughter Riley.)
“These are some of the darkest days of my family’s life. The shock of losing Ben has been devastating,” Priscilla wrote via Facebook at the time. “Trying to put all the pieces together of all the possible whys has penetrated my soul. Each day I wake up I pray it will get better.”
She continued, “I think of my daughter and the pain she is going through as she was a doting mother. Ben’s father, Danny, who is completely lost, as Ben was his only son. Riley, so loving and so close to him; Harper and Finley, who absolutely adored Ben. Navarone [Garibaldi], my son], who struggles deeply with loss and death. Rest In Peace Ben, you were loved.”
In January 2023, Priscilla confirmed the news that her firstborn had died after undergoing cardiac arrest.
“It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us,” she said in a statement at the time. “She was the most passionate strong and loving woman I have ever known. We ask for privacy as we try to deal with this profound loss. Thank you for the love and prayers. At this time there will be no further comment.”
Keep scrolling to relive Priscilla and Lisa Marie’s ups and downs:
Priscilla recalled seeing her baby girl for the first time after giving birth in her memoir, Elvis and Me.
"The nurse brought [Lisa Marie] into my room and I cradled her in my arms. She was so tiny, so beautiful," she wrote in her book. "Elvis came into the room and kissed me, thrilled that we had had a perfectly normal, healthy baby. Then he took us both in his arms and held us."
The twosome both grieved over the loss of Elvis, who died at the age of 42 after suffering from cardiac arrest.
When Lisa Marie entered her teens and began using drugs, she and the New York native often found themselves at odds.
"My mom was really, really strict with me," the “Storm & Grace” artist said during a 2013 appearance on The Talk. "Constrictive. I realized that is not going to work very well because it made us not get close for a very long time. We are now very close, but when I was younger, it was, like, difficult to have a relationship with somebody that's got you ... around the neck all the time.”
Priscilla felt Scientology provided stability and a sense of belonging for both herself and her daughter. However, Lisa Marie ultimately exited the church.
“Uncovering the fact that I was surrounded by people who were not well-intended, for one,” she said during an interview with USA Weekend about her choice to leave. “Confidants [who were] very, very intimately and closely involved with me and my life. And had been for years. Basically, it was a big sinister situation, where there was like, kind of intel and covert ops going on, and a whole effort to control me that I didn’t know about. … It was just too much for me.”
While Lockwood was being investigated for child abuse, Lisa Marie’s twin daughters moved into Priscilla’s Calabasas, California, home.
“It’s great, it’s absolutely great [having them at home with me]. I love it, I love it,” she exclusively gushed to Us about having the little ones under her roof. “Having twins is quite an experience, I have to say. Both of them are very different. Wonderful kids, wonderful children.”
The pair attended the Golden Globes together to celebrate Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic, which was nominated for three awards. Austin Butler, who portrayed the King of Rock ’n’ Roll in the film, ended up taking home the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama and thanked the women in his acceptance speech.
“Thank you for opening your hearts, your memories [and] your home to me,” Butler said on stage as the mother and daughter duo cried in the audience. “Lisa Marie, Priscilla, I love you forever.”
While walking the red carpet, the “Dirty Laundry” crooner gushed over the Switched at Birth alum’s uncanny performance. “It was mind-blowing, truly mind-blowing. I really didn't know what to do with myself after I saw it," she told Entertainment Tonight at the time. "I had to take five days to process it because it was so incredible and so spot-on and so authentic. I can't even describe."
Five years later, Priscilla reportedly also walked away from Scientology.
She added, "My mother was very level-headed and very set on me being level-headed, so she'd have to undo whatever was done if I went to Graceland and spent two weeks being a tyrant."
Priscilla was by Lisa Marie’s side after the “Over Me” songstress went into cardiac arrest on January 12. The Graceland cofounder confirmed her daughter’s death in a statement later that day.
"It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us," Priscilla confirmed in a statement to People at the time. "She was the most passionate strong and loving woman I have ever known. We ask for privacy as we try to deal with this profound loss. Thank you for the love and prayers. At this time there will be no further comment."
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